U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



D.L. Peterson et al. (eds.), Climate Change and United States Forests, Advances in Global Change Research 57, DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-7515-2__8


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Forest ecosystems respond to natural climatic variability and human-caused climate change in ways that are adverse as well as beneficial to the biophysical environment and to society. Adaptation can be defined as responses or adjustments made— passive, reactive, or anticipatory—to climatic variability and change (Carter et al. 1994). Many adjustments occur whether humans intervene or not; for example, plants and animals shift to favorable habitats, and gene frequencies may change to favor traits that enable persistence in a warmer climate. Here we assess (general) strategies and (specific) tactics that resource managers can use to reduce forest vulnerability and increase adaptation to changing climate (Peterson et al. 2011). Plans and activities range from short-term, stop-gap measures, such as removing conifers that are progressively invading mountainmeadows, to long-term, proactive commitments, such as vegetation management to reduce the likelihood of severe wildfire or of beetle-mediated forest mortality.